A History of International Women's Day
in words and images

Introduction

Over the years, International Women's Day (IWD) has taken to the streets, sparked off a revolution, met cosily at luncheons and concerts, rubbed shoulders with Premiers, Prime Ministers and Mayors, demonstrated at the doors of newspapers and welfare institutions, occupied empty houses intent on gaining shelter for homeless women and has ushered in reform legislation.

The history of IWD dates back to 1910 internationally and, in Australia, to 1928. But socialist women in the United States organised the first national Women's Day in 1908 and helped to inspire the international event.

The day has been variously seen as a time for asserting women's political and social rights, for reviewing the progress that women have made, or as a day for celebration. In keeping with its early radical traditions, Lena Lewis, U S. socialist, declared in 1910 that it was not a time for celebrating anything, but rather a day for anticipating all the struggles to come when" we may eventually and forever stamp out the last vestige of male egotism and his desire to dominate over women" 1

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